HIGHLANDERS received the much-needed boost ahead of another meeting with nemesis How Mine this Sunday when they bounced back, in spectacular fashion, to beat Black Rhinos and return to the summit of the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League.
After 11 unbeaten matches, the former champions were brought back to reality after a 0-1 loss to Dynamos – coach Kelvin Kaindu’s second league loss to the Harare side in three years. There were fears the Bosso season had imploded.
After they went down 0-1 to Rhinos in the first half, Highlanders returned a rejuvenated side and scored three times, through a Charles Sibanda double and a third from Gabriel Nyoni to eventually win 3-1.
Bosso had moved down to fourth place on the log after the loss to Dynamos, but took three giant leaps to occupy top position with 24 points while Dynamos who were held to a goalless draw by Chicken Inn, are second with 23. Caps United who beat Hwange 2-1 are third.
Hwange are on fourth with 22 points and How Mine who are tied on points with Chipangano, complete the top five with 22 points.
However, Sunday’s win will give Kaindu the temporary reprieve he needs to focus on the next matches which the former league champions will play at Barbourfields Stadium.
Highlanders still have two local derbies ahead of them – playing How Mine this weekend and Bantu Rovers in weeks 15 and 16.
Bosso have not beaten How Mine since they joined the league last season, having lost to the 2013 Southern Region Division One League champions home and away, and this is the kind of form they need going into this battle.
Kaindu’s coaching tactics will be put back under the spotlight with the Bosso family looking to maintain a hold onto the top position while Philani Ncube who lost his encounter to Triangle 1-2 at the weekend, would be looking for a win.
It could be the changes that Kaindu made to his team for the Rhinos match that paid off as he played Knox Mutizwa ahead of Welcome Ndiweni, Ariel Sibanda in goal instead of the panicky Njabulo Nyoni, and Valentine Ndaba in the starting 11.
Against Dynamos, the Zambian national had Kudakwashe Mahachi – who has since left for Mamelodi Sundowns – with Ndaba, Mutizwa and Ozias Zibande coming in as substitutes while the rest of the team remained unchanged.
Black Rhinos have themselves to blame for the loss. They resorted to time wasting tactics early in the second half as they probably thought they had the game in the bag, what with Highlanders having come from another defeat.
But that is not how football goes – it’s played until the referee says it’s over.
Meanwhile, SuperSport, the league’s broadcast partners will cover their first game in Matabeleland North this Thursday when Hwange host unbeaten ZPC Kariba at the Colliery.
On Friday, the SuperSport crew will travel to Bulawayo for a weekend dose that will feature Chicken Inn and Caps United at Luveve Stadium on Saturday.
On Sunday, they will cover the How Mine-Highlanders clash at Barbourfields as they bid to beat last season’s 53 league and cup matches they covered. By week 10, the channel had screened 20 games and it is expected that by week 20, they would have covered 40 league games.
They will broadcast the Chibuku Super Cup that starts this month and the Mbada Diamonds Cup that will run for the last three months of the year, with the final pencilled for December 20.
Thursday: Hwange v ZPC Kariba (Colliery Stadium, SS9)
Saturday: Chicken Inn v Caps United (Luveve SS9), Chiredzi v Harare City (Chishamiso), Chapungu v FC Platinum (Ascot)
Sunday: How Mine v Highlanders (Barbourfields SS9), Shabanie Mine v Buffaloes (Maglas), Dynamos v Black Rhinos (NSS)